How to Start a Car That’s Been Sitting for Years

Hey guys Chrisfix here and today Im going to show you what you should do before you go to start a car that’s been sitting for a long time. And by a long time I mean the car has been sitting without being started or moved for at least 4 to 6 months, or longer. In this case I got mustang from an online auction. I’ll be turning it into drift car. The problem is I don’t know if it starts. But I do know the car has been sitting for awhile. Even though I want to see if the car will start up. Before we do that I want to go over a couple of IMPORTANT things to check so we don’t cause any damage to the engine when we go to start it.

That being said the first thing to check was this key was really hard to get in and out. In is not too bad, but getting it out is a little tough. But luckily a sticking key is usually a quick and easy fix. So to fix the sticking ignition lock we’re going to be using one of these dry lubricant sprays but instead of me just fixing it real quick, I wanted to show you guys how a lock actually works and why it’s hard for your key to move in and out.

So there are two main reasons why your key might be hard to move in and out of the lock, and the first reason is every time you put your key in your pocket you have a chance of getting lint on the key, and then when you go use the key in your lock you force that lint in here and it just gums things up. The other reason is, watch these pins right here, you can see when you push the key in, the pins move out of the way and become even so that you could pop the lock open or start the car So if these pins aren’t lubricated, it could be difficult to move the key in and out.

So what we’re going to do is we’re going to spray a dry lock lube. It’s a dry lubricant that goes in wet and then liquid evaporates and provides lubrication so the key could slide in and out without getting hung up. So you can see how well the lubrication worked in here, now let’s go try this out in the Mustang. So make sure you roll down a window or leave a door open or something. So just shake this up. And you really don’t need a lot just a little burst.

Work our key in and let’s see; All right now that is a lot better and that’s the first fix on our mustang. In this video I’m going to show you tons of little tips and tricks just like this and at the end of this video we’re gonna go try to start this car and see if she runs. Cars are not meant to sit around they’re meant to be used. So when they sit around one of the biggest problems is parts get rusty and the fluids in the engine and transmission and all that, start to break down; so with the car off the ground I’m going to show you how to get this car ready so we could safely start the engine All right the first thing to do is get under the hood and check the engine oil; actually, before we even do that, when a car sits animals like to make your car their new home. So they’ll build nests out of straw and leaves which could easily catch fire with a hot engine. So take a look around and make sure you don’t see any nest from animals anywhere in the engine The other place to look is in the grill and also down below the grill; not only for animals but leaves and debris starts getting stuck up here, which will cause your car to overheat when you first start it.

And actually you could see right here it looks like we have a bird of some sort actually it looks like a hummingbird that kind of got wedged up here and stuck. (R.I.P.) So real quick just look for stuff like this and nests from animals. So the first fluid we want to check and probably the most important fluid to check is the engine oil, because it’s the lifeblood of your engine. Imagine if we went to start the engine and it happens to be little to no oil in there; or if the oil is old and broken down and provides no protection. You could cause some serious damage. And you can see here we’re VERY LOW on oil; actually I wonder if there’s even any oil in this engine so let’s drain it and find out. I want to catch an oil sample to get analized which could give us some useful information on the condition of the engine. So just loosen the drain plug and drain the oil gotta catch some oil for the sample; good. And with the oil completely drained screw in the plug and tighten it down; not too much just so that snug.

Whipe the remaining oil off and let’s remove the oil filter. Now this filter is mounted sideways and I hate when they design it like that because it makes it a complete mess to remove. To combat that mess, a tip I have is to use tin foil right underneath the filter to funnel the oil as you remove the filter. See what I mean? Look at the oil getting everywhere. But luckily the tin foil trick works pretty good. Now we can install the new filter. Remove the foil for a quick and easy cleanup and only hand tighten the filter. There’s no need to get any tighter than that; and I always write the current mileage on the oil filter so i won’t forget it. Now all we need to do is fill the engine with oil. Grab a funnel and an awesome tip is to pour the oil from the container sideways just like this. When you pour it sideways notice the oil pours out smoothly and it isn’t coming out in waves which usually makes a mess.

I’m using full synthetic high mileage motor oil which is perfect for this engine, and the stresses we’re gonna be putting it through as a drift car. Alright so checking and changing your engine oil is probably one of the most important things you could do before starting an engine that’s been sitting for a while. The next VERY important thing that we’re going to do is we’re going to be using some frogging oil in each of the cylinders to lubricate the cylinder walls before we start the engine. So when an engine sits for a long time all the oil drips down to the bottom of the drain pan; even the oil that supposed to be coating the cylinders slowly makes its way down. So the cylinders are completely dry and that’s where the fogging oil comes into play. To fog the engine, remove the spark plug wire and then remove the spark plug. And since we have to take the spark plugs out to fog the cylinders, now’s a good time to inspect the spark plugs. So you want to make sure that there’s no cracks in this ceramic here if there is you have to replace it.

And you want to look at the area that in the engine and sparks you want to make sure it’s not gummed up with oil. If it is clean it off or replace them. And you also want to check the gap. On this Mustang that gap supposed to be .055 of an inch, so we take our gapping tool, we take our spark plug and we gently move it across until it kind of gets stuck. And you can see it’s starting to get stuck around .055 you want to be careful with these platinum plugs you don’t really want to rub against them hard because you will remove the platinum coating. The electrode here doesn’t look horrible but these are probably the original Ford plugs so they really should be replaced but I think a really cool video would be putting this car on the dino and testing different brand spark plugs and seeing what makes the most power. So i’m going to wait to change these, until then Now to fog the cylinder all you’re gonna do is go into the sparkplug hole with the spray and hold the trigger down for one or two seconds.

Just like that. And what it does is it put a thin coat of oil on the cylinder walls and piston rings because extra lubrication is never a bad thing. *Wink, wink* Now I’m going to spray this stuff in each cylinder so there’s four on this side for on that side and that’s going to completely lubricate the upper combustion chamber. All right now with all the cylinders fogged over and lubricated, we have something else that’s very important that we need to do with any car that’s been sitting for a while. And that is draining the gas tank old gas doesn’t burn as good as new gas, plus old gas can clog up the fuel system so we need to remove the old gas and add in some new gas so grab a hose and push it down until it hits the bottom of the tank.

Now grab a pump and connect the hose to the pump so you can pump out the gas. Then start pumping the gas out and have an empty gas container ready. Once the gas starts running down the hose it’s going to create suction and pull the rest of the gas in the tank out with it so you can remove the pump. Just try not to make a mess, like me.

And the key to making this work is to have the end of the hose below the car’s gas tank like this so now we have gravity doing our work the gasoline is getting pulled down by gravity and it’s going right into the tank and once you remove the hand pump it’s actually a decent flow. So be sure to have an extra gas tank just in case this one fills up. Alright so we just ran out of gas which is good that means our tank is empty and that is all there is to it. So we siphened the whole tank empty. There might be a little bit of gas left in there but now we’ll put some fresh gas in there it’ll dilute any of the bad gas that’s remaining in here and it should be good enough to start.

And in this case we removed about seven to eight gallons of gas, and you’re probably wondering okay so what do I do with all this gas? Your local recycle center will take the gas because you don’t know if it’s any good; or you could try running this stuff in your lawn mower and if it runs in the lawn mower then you know the gas is still good. Now with the old gas removed and some fresh gas in the tank the last thing we want to do before we start the engine is check the coolant. We want to check the level, which you can see on the side here. And the coolant has to be filled to that line right there. And then we want to open up our coolant reservoir, and use one of these hydrometers and these are actually really inexpensive. And all you do is you put it inside the reservoir you squeeze the bulb up here and it’ll take a sample for you.

You can see our sample is brightly colored just give it a tap make sure there’s no air bubbles. And then we want to check this temperature here, so we look here this is fahrenheit in the blue and we’re protected to negative 35 degrees around there, and that’s exactly where we want to be for a 50-50 mix. So a combination of bright colored coolan,t whether it’s orange, whether it’s green, purple, whatever color coolant is you want to be brightly colored and then you should protect the negative 34 degrees Fahrenheit which this is so our cooling system is in good shape and I’ll wait ’till later down the road to change the coolant.

After doing the coolant we’re technically safe so we could start the engine. But before we start the engine there’s a few more things that I want to cover just to be extra safe, such as the power steering fluid right here. The power steering fluid is really easy to check. You see here it says minimum and maximum so it has to be between these two lines, and it’s filled right at the top which is good. The next fluid the check is another non essential for running the engine but it’s very essential for stopping the car if we take it for a test drive, and that’s checking the brake fluid. On the side of the brake fluid there’s a max line right up here and there is a minimum line right down here so you want to make sure the brake fluid is in between both of those lines. If your brakes are worn out, your brake fluid is going to be on the lower end. And if your brakes are brand new it’s probably going to be on the upper end. All right this is really exciting our fluids are changed we have, fresh fluids, fresh oil.

So now we’re going to go see if we could start the car. I think the battery’s going to be dead. I charged it up but I think it’s really bad. Yeah I got nothing, so we’re gonna go put a jump starter on the battery. Now I don’t know if you guys have ever seen these mini jump starters, but they are great! you get the cables and then you get the mini jump starter, check this out. That’s going to start the car. Just pop that open, plug this in, and we’re ready to go. Black to the negative red to the positive. All right let’s see what we got here. Come on baby startup… Oh… Come on. Come on… So I’m not gonna go to diagnose this now. We’re not gonna go test all the different systems, but what I think it might be a fuel pump not completely sure, so we’re going to test that theory out with some starter fluid.

So with the air box off, we’re gonna go try to start the car. And I’m going to add starter fluid. Go ‘head, start ‘er up! Aww man! That is exciting! That is what I’m talking about! The car is running! This is awesome! So right now it is literally running on the starter fluid. Now if that doesn’t get your heart going, I don’t know what does. I am pumped so the starting fluid worked. I think the fuel pump is bad I’m gonna go do a fuel pressure test and all that other stuff. That’s going to be in the next video of the series on building this drift car. So stay tuned. Hopefully this video was helpful and now you know when you go to start a car that’s been sitting for a while what you need to do so when you started up the engine won’t get damaged.

Now I need to get a fuel pump and I also need to get a battery. This thing is amazing, I love these little jump starters. .